King's Stairs Gardens
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In July 1947 the London County Council (LCC) declared Bermondsey a Reconstruction Area, and as part of wholesale post-war regeneration approved the idea of extending Southwark Park to the river. The idea of a link to the river pre-dated the Second World war by a few years, but the post-war need to reconstruct gave this aim more resonance.
Putting the policy into practice proved to be a slow business because of a combination of objections by amongst others Bermondsey Borough Council and local businesses. For instance in 1953 the LCC's Draft Development Plan for London was subject to an Inquiry and the Bermondsey and Rotherhithe Chamber of Commerce objected to the park extension.
In September 1954 the Ministry of Housing approved the compulsory purchase of land in order to extend the park, but this took a few years to implement.
In 1960 the LCC approved a design for the King's Stairs riverside walk, which was opened in November 1962. In January 1963 the LCC approved the name King's Stairs Gardens.
In 1964 the LCC agreed a grassed area to the south of The Angel public house. Again the implementation seems to have been delayed due to financial constraints, and it was not until 1968 that the Greater London Council (the successor body to the LCC) reappraised the site, and agreed to three green space additions. These were finally completed by 1982, and it is in that form that King's Stairs Gardens still exists today.
So from an approval in 1947 it took only another 35 years to fully achieve!
Queen Elizabeth II's Jubilee 1977
For the 1977 25th Jubilee of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II a memorial stone was unveiled by Her Majesty on the banks of the River Thames in King's Stairs Gardens. To coincide with the Summer 2002 restoration works in nearby Southwark Park, a new memorial stone was unveiled in King's Stairs Gardens by the Earl and Countess of Wessex.
Conservation and Thames Water plans
Thames Water named the park in September 2010 as one possible site for works as part of the planned construction of the Thames Tideway Tunnel, but following a consultation process and a vigorous local campaign ("the Save King's Stairs Gardens Campaign), Thames Water decided against using the site, choosing Chambers Wharf instead.
- "Save King's Stairs Gardens - Brownfield not Greenfield". saveksg.com.
- "Village green 'will thwart sewer'". 8 March 2012 – via www.bbc.co.uk.